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New Music Review: GABRIELLE APLIN “Light Up The Dark”


REVIEW – Gabrielle Aplin’s follow up to English Rain is something somewhat experimental yet showcases how far since the last record she truly is. Aplin has this fascination with pushing her vocals further and further yet romancing the instruments to keep the record an upbeat journey for the listener. The electric guitar sound and piano backdrop is both lush yet showcases that she really wants to try to work with so many different genres. The album kicks off with the song “Light in the Dark” that feels like a mixture of early Charlatans UK with a darker Florence and the Machine like delivery. It catches your attention right from the start with its upbeat feel of guitars romancing piano and the beautiful vocals and catchy delivery by Aplin. This is clearly a sound that is bordering on a commercial edgy yet very pop friendly at the same time. You can tell this record is geared for modern radio airplay. “Skeleton” is another one of those upbeat tracks that Aplin tries to be very Janis Joplin or Joni Mitchell in her storytelling lyrical point of view. I am just not sure of the point this song is trying to make, the lyrics are point towards anger but the song seems very “commercialized friendly”. Where the raw emotion of “English Rain” is gone, I like the fact that we get glimpses here and there of it all over this record. “Heavy Heart” is a great example of what Aplin does best, just strips it all done to the core and shows why she is just an incredibly gifted singer. This record at times comes across as Lesley Rankine did with the Ruby debut record, it is a mixture of pop with elements of everything else to try and mold the pop into a hybrid of sorts. It is just such a creative yet simple atmosphere she has created and the instruments that accompany her vocals compliment her style. She is a very capable singer with an impressive style and range. Which is why I hate to be negative to this record.

I really like this record but will admit I love the last record more. I was hoping that we would not get so many “radio friendly” songs that seemed more geared towards sales than emotion. The record is very catchy and she has so much talent, and at times seems to be sticking too closely to her comfort zone. Do not get me wrong, I am not saying this is a bad record. Fans of Florence and The Machine and Adele would really embrace what she is doing. I really wish we would have had more of the raw emotion and powerful moments like in the last record. But, signing with a label like Warner Brothers where they are signing bands and singers that they see charting and selling units, this record just seems like unless you are a fan or catch a song on the radio that catches your moment that there really is not much that stands out and separates it. Where singers/bands like Courtney Barnett and Wolf Alice are really exploring the musical depths and culture in their own ways, it seems that the exploration on this record was that someone needed a record that could connect more with the Hot Topic crowd than being a cutting edge artist.




Track Listing

1. “Light Up the Dark”
2. “Skeleton”
3. “Fools Love”
4. “Slip Away”
5. “Sweet Nothing”
6. “Heavy Heart”
7. “Shallow Love”
8. “Anybody Out There”
9. “Hurt”
10. “Together”
11. “What Did You Do?”
12. “A While”




8 Stars

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